Don't Panic and Carry on Class of 2020!

These times are uncharted territory. If someone would have told the class of 2020 that their senior year would feel like the plot of movie a year ago, they would have pictured a completely different movie in their head.

They definitely would not have guessed that the dress for the annual social or homecoming would become the dress for their "prom adjacent" memories. They never would have guessed that their graduation ceremony might be something watched on TV with LeBron James as the host and the entire nation banded together. They also would not have guessed that (for the ones leaving for college) that their last summer vacation would be spent with so much quality time with their parents before they springboard into adulthood.

The world is always going to throw you a bunch of curve balls. There is nothing in life that is promised and there is nothing in life that can keep the world from always changing. The lesson you can learn during a world of change is how to not let the negativity eat you alive.

There are a lot of things that you are going to encounter in your lifetime that are negative. You can handle the negativity in a variety of ways and you can generally choose how these events will affect who you are. If you choose to panic, you will be a panicked person. If you choose to be angry, you will be an angry person. If you choose to find the silver lining, you will have a much more fruitful life.

This does not mean that you should not feel the feels. Feelings are normal and healthy. The best "silver lining" people still get mad and want to throw things. The healthiest people still get sad and cry. The best way to be adjusted is to take those feelings and think about how they will change you as a person. You want to be able to experience the emotion and then figure out how to move past it. If you choose to gain empathy and move on, you will be able to face the biggest challenges in your life and successfully work through them.


There are a lot of really great things that you can look at that still hold true even during a weird Covid lockdown.

1. With or without a ceremony, you can still take the selfie. Photos with your family are not banned. Photos showing off your cords and accomplishments are not banned. Even if the day is not what you planned, you are still connected online to share this moment and this accomplishment with the world. It may not be what you imagined, but you still have the opportunity to show it off. (This is also true of that prom dress that may or may not get used now.) My advice - Make the photo a big deal- plan it, dress it, do it.

2. Even if you can't leave the house, you can still have a party. Your parents want to celebrate your graduation as much as you do. They want to be a part of the celebration and they want to help you be proud and happy of your accomplishments. Talk with your parents and see if you can plan a cool barbecue or dinner with your family that is specifically to celebrate the fact that you have graduated. Parents, see if you can get people to "drop in" via Zoom or Instagram to wish your graduate well. You might even be able to plan a front yard barbecue and invite friends to drive by and wish your graduate well with a drive by celebration.

3. Think about what graduation actually means. It may seem like everyone is looking for the big ceremony (and they are) but if it can't happen, it is important to look inside yourself to think about what graduation actually means to you. It will be different for everyone, but there are some major accomplishments and moment of pride that you should take a minute to think about. You might even want to write it down in a letter to yourself that you can seal away to read ten years from now or on the day that your son or daughter graduates from high school. It is OK to be sentimental.

4. At the end of the "at home orders" the accomplishment is still the accomplishment. At the end of the day, no matter how messed up this time may seem, you still graduated. You still completed 13 years of school, faced your bullies, ate school lunches, had a high school crush, cried over the "F" on the exam, cheered for your sports team, had great times with your friends, fought with your friends, learned how to respect other people, felt cheated, felt inspired, wished to be someone else, was proud of something you learned, made plans for the future, wished to be an adult, wished it was over, and wished it would never end. That is high school. No matter what your graduation ceremony looks like, you still made it through all of that. Covid-19 can't take what you did away from you. You graduated!

For the Class of 2020, I hope that you wear this hiccup in your life (Covid-19) as a badge of honor after this is all over. This will make you stronger, especially if you take a more global look for why the world has decided to take this action right now. Whether you believe in it or not, the world is trying to save lives. The Class of 2020 will become the empathetic one, because their class sacrificed their senior year to help save people from a global pandemic. That is a very honorable thing to do. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! The world thanks you and Encore wishes you the best.

#classof2020 #peteythepirate #thisisencore #encorehighschool #dontpanic #tipsforgraduates #graduateathome #wewillgetthroughthis #saferathome #covidgraduation #coronavirusgraduation #silverlining #classof2020strong #graduationceremony

Petey the Pirate is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public performing arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's High School program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredtied. Copyright 2020.

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